Some people want to be legends, others are destined for it. You could say this is the case for Canelo Alvarez. The 21-year-old has built his reputation being ferocious inside the boxing ring. He has spent six years creating a solid record, defeating contender after contender, picking up seven belts along the way while lying in wait to face a major opponent. On May 5, 2012 in a Las Vegas desert, he’ll look to take one more step toward fulfilling that destiny when he comes face to face with boxing great “Sugar” Shane Mosley.
Canelo’s story is almost biblical. Santos Saúl Álvarez Barragán, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised on a Jalisco farm with five brothers. Boxing is an Álvarez family tradition. Each of the Alvarez boys have boxed and found success. Ramon, Ricardo and Rigoberto have all gone pro and held championship titles at some point in their careers. When Álvarez was 13 and saw big brother Rigoberto make his professional debut, he decided then and there to pursue the sport.
At 13, Álvarez met and began working with Jose “Chepo” Reynoso, who christened the red-headed pre-teen
“Canelo” which means cinnamon in Spanish. Quickly, Álvarez began gaining amateur titles and awards including a silver medal at the Junior Mexican National championships in 2004 and the league championship title in 2005. By the time he turned pro at 15, he already had 20 fights to his name.
Instantly people knew Alvarez was someone to watch. “Maybe we have seen a piece of the future,” said one announcer prophetically after witnessing Álvarez’s victory against Jose Miguel Cotto, his first professional American fight. In his second go, Álvarez knocked out Carlos Baldomir, an Argentine bruiser, who hadn’t kissed the mat in 16 years.
“He is Mexican, looks Irish and he fights [like] George Foreman,”
proclaimed another announcer during Álvarez’s 2011 title bout against Matthew Hatton. Álvarez’s power, stamina and speed are part of his signature style. He has even made believers out of his predecessors. The Golden Boy himself, Oscar De la Hoya Oscar has said of Canelo, “He is considered Mexico’s next boxing icon,” during a recent promotional radio interview with BoxingInsider.com.